Carriers are now required to block all text messages that appear to be scams. This is the FCC’s first attempt to squash scam texts through regulation—frankly, it’s long overdue. Unfortunately, the FCC’s anti-robocall actions haven’t been very effective, so we’re a bit skeptical about this new rule.
If a text comes from an “invalid, unallocated, or unused number,” it will be automatically blocked per the FCC’s new rule. Additionally, text messages sent from phone numbers that are “self-identified as never sending text messages,” such as government or business landlines, will be blocked.
These rules are pretty simple. And they could eliminate the majority of scam texts, which are usually sent from “fake” numbers (or real numbers that can be impersonated using software.) That said, it seems like carriers should’ve been doing this stuff without the FCC’s guidance!
Scam text messages are a major annoyance, and frustratingly, they’re pretty dang effective. Most scam texts are phishing schemes that alert the victim to a “problem” with their bank account, taxes, Amazon Prime membership, and so on.
Recent reports show that around 68 million Americans fell for phishing schemes in 2022—that’s nearly 20% of the U.S. population! Domestic economic losses due to phishing hover around $40 billion, and phishing is responsible for several large-scale data breaches.
In addition to this rule, the FCC now requires carriers to maintain a reporting system for suspicious text messages. The FCC says it may also integrate texting with existing Do Not Call protections, which could reduce text spam and harassment.
Will these actions create any meaningful change? Well, the FCC recently went on a tirade against robocalls, but we still receive plenty of spam calls. So, the answer is a big “maybe.”